Monthly Archives: March 2016

Let’s pretend,

Let’s pretend, just for today, all day long, throughout our every thought and decision, that life is easy, that everyone means well, and that time is on our side. OK?

And let’s pretend that we are loved beyond belief, that magic conspires on our behalf, and that nothing can ever hurt us without our consent. All right?

And if we like this game, we’ll play it tomorrow as well, and the next day, and the next…..

Mike Dooley of http://www.tut.com

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8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

Productivity Successby

It happens to all of us, whether we bring it on our selves or it just shows up. That pit in your stomach. The butterflies. The times when our palms start to sweat. I’m talking about when we are thinking about things we don’t want to do — the things that we know we should do in order to get to where we want to go. I know you know what I’m talking about and I guarantee you have at least one thing in your mind you are thinking about right now.

You might be thinking of that dream or big goal that you want to accomplish one day. The book you want to write. The business you want to start. The big audacious goal that scares the daylights out of you but keeps you dreaming because you know you can do it. The problem is that there are a lot of steps along the way that are uncomfortable. It can be as small as that email you don’t want to send or that person you don’t want to call, even though you know at the end of the day it will make you better and that much closer to your goal.

Here is a list of eight of those uncomfortable things, though the list could go on and on. Let’s be honest: we all procrastinate. How do you overcome procrastination? You make things easier to do.

It’s not rocket science. When you do uncomfortable things more often, they become more comfortable. Maybe after doing these things more often, you’ll lose that pit in your stomach the next time it’s your turn to show up.

1. Waking Up Early

We know we should do it and that it will make us feel great for the rest of the day. We feel energized and ready for the day the one time a month we finally do it. So, why do we not do this every day? I’ll tell you why I don’t: because my bed is so warm and comfy! When my alarm wakes me up early and I know I can either a) Get up and spend some time for myself before the day gets started, or b) Spend another hour or two getting some more Z’s, I’ll pick the snooze button almost every time.

We’ve all heard the interviews with the most successful people telling us about their early morning routines. How they read, work out, make a healthy and organic breakfast, and then still have time to journal all before work. It’s pretty hard to believe they’ve ever heard of a snooze button.

One thing that I started recently to help me wake up a little earlier is the Five Minute Journal. It has been a great first step in waking up earlier than normal. The best part is, it’s only five minutes earlier than I would usually get up!

2. Public Speaking

Talk about a pit in your stomach! The only people you meet that love public speaking are public speakers! They do it all the time and likely get paid to do it. You can’t be successful without someone giving you a stage to tell your story. You can try to avoid it all you want, but it comes with the territory.

People striving for success (like you and me) want to know how successful people got to where they are. How do you think they tell their story to us?

Public speaking, like everything else on this list, is something we need to start doing to make it more comfortable. Whether it’s volunteering for a toast, starting a video blog, or chiming in when the speaker says “does anyone have any questions?”. That’s our turn to push through the discomfort!

3. Exercising

You might be saying “Hey, I exercise all the time and I’m still not successful.” Maybe you’re not, but you are one step ahead of most of us! For those of you, like me, who break a sweat twice a week every 30 days (aka 2 times a month), exercising isn’t on the list of top to-dos. Maybe you just can’t seem to find the time. It’s time to make the time.

I wish they would come out with a study that shows that getting that extra hour of sleep before work or the extra episode on Netflix before bed gives you more energy and is better for your body than exercising, but I still haven’t seen it. Instead, I keep seeing studies like this one from Harvard that reads “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills,” and just hoping they misplaced “exercise” when it should’ve said “doughnuts.” Still waiting on that study.

4. Networking

You just received an email in your inbox that reads, “The local business professional networking group will be at the office from 5:00 to 5:30 today, please stay late to network with them.” This just makes you jump for joy, right? Not even close! You know you should, and you might meet an awesome connection to help you with your next goal or job, but your soft, warm couch is calling your name in a calming, late-night radio voice that you can’t resist.

I give the excuse of “I am terrible at small talk and I could care less about meaningless conversation.” It’s a valid excuse and my go-to every time. It doesn’t get me anymore connections and I never meet anyone exciting or new because of it. Let’s start small and start asking questions.

The people that are the most charismatic and outgoing ask the most questions. Have you ever noticed that? You don’t need to make small talk. Ask questions and let the other person talk. The truth is that the more people talk, the more they like you. Strange, but true.

 5. Taking The Blame

This point does not read “taking the blame for someone else.” This is about admitting your own mistakes when you mess up. It’s so easy and comfortable to quickly make excuses for when you mess up. When a mistake is made and no one takes the blame, it’s hard to move forward and get it fixed because no one wants to fix someone else’s mistake if they won’t fess up.

This one is so simple, but it’s not our first reaction. Leaders take responsibility. When they or their team mess up, they take it on the cheek. The best part about this very uncomfortable action is that it helps everyone quickly move on. You can’t move forward unless you start to look in that direction. Take the blame and take the next step forward.

6. Continuously Learning

You know your dream and your goals. Are you reading the right books to reach those goals? Are you attending seminars and conferences in that genre?

I was very guilty of this for a long time. I was reading books that I wanted to read, books that were comfortable. Of course, reading is a great hobby. If you are a reader, don’t stop. If you are not, start!

The uncomfortable part is reading books that you know will get you closer to your dream or goal, but are not on the top of your reading list. Don’t just read for joy, read to build your knowledge.

 7. Unplugging

If the leader of the smartphone revolution didn’t let his kids use his own inventions, there must be a benefit. There are more smartphones than humans on this planet now. We are even starting to wear these devices on our wrists because it’s too difficult to reach into our pockets to read texts! We are all guilty of the smartphone and other technologies ruling our lives.

If you want to be successful, do as the successful do. Who doesn’t want to have the success Steve Jobs had? He limited the time his kids spent with technology because he knew it would slow them down in the long run. As much as we like to think our iPhones keep us more connected and more efficient, they don’t. We could get a lot more done in a day if we weren’t checking out what our friends are eating, where they are in the world, or perfecting our next post to make them just as jealous.

You know exactly what I’m talking about — we are all guilty. Let’s get uncomfortable and start unplugging at the times we want to plug in the most!

8. Meeting Adversity On Purpose

Who is ready to face the most difficult and most uncomfortable thing they can think of and jump headfirst in? Adversity is more simply defined as “Difficulty.” I’m not talking about feeling good when you start off your day with a spilled latte. That stinks, but I’m talking about getting in over your head, taking on something that you know you can’t accomplish right away, but that you believe in yourself enough to try and make it happen.

The great philosopher John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

There is a quick story in the Bible that I love about a man named Benaiah:

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day.

He went face to face with a lion and killed it. Not with a gun in perfect weather, but on a snowy day with some sort of ancient weapon— he faced a deadly predator and conquered it.

What gives you a pit in your stomach that you know will make you a better person, a better parent, a better boss, a better employee, or will help you reach your big audacious goals? If it’s uncomfortable, it’s probably something we know we should start doing.

http://www.lifehack.org/378350

How $1,000 Invested at Birth Could Change Everything

 

KidSave’ accounts may be part of a long-term solution to the retirement income problem.

In the presidential debates, we’ve heard more about Donald Trump’s anatomy than what may be the most pressing financial issue directly in front of millions of boomers: Where will they find monthly retirement income that is guaranteed for life?

The retirement industry can talk about almost nothing else, which in hindsight seems a predictable turn. Did we really believe Americans would manage their 401(k) plans well enough to stash away 25 years of post-career financial security? We haven’t come close, and in this sense the 401(k) has been a colossal failure. Now the first wave of pensionless retirees is about to land, and politicians have almostnothing to say on the subject.

One reason is that there are no quick fixes, which is why it may be time to dust off a long-term solution first floated in the 1990s and still championed by one of its architects, Bob Kerrey, the former democratic senator from Nebraska. He would like every child born in the U.S. to receive $1,000 in a “KidSave” account that would compound over 65 years before being tapped. “For most people it’s not income that matters,” says Kerry, now with investment firm Allen & Co. “It’s wealth accumulation.”

In other words, retirement security is less about what you earn and more about how much and how soon you save. Compound growth over seven decades can do a lot of heavy lifting.

Kerrey reiterated his support for what he calls “wealth accounts” last week during a discussion on the financial impact of longevity, hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch at the Museum of American Finance in New York. These wealth accounts would be funded at every child’s birth through a government loan, to be repaid when the child enters the workforce some 25 years later.

The initial $1,000 by itself wouldn’t make a huge difference: at 6% a year over 65 years it would produce just $44,145 in tax-deferred savings. But the existence of a wealth account from birth would encourage more saving, Kerrey believes. These accounts would be strictly off limits for 65 years and in his estimation could be enough to guarantee adequate income that will never run out later in life. If parents or grandparents, say, kicked in $20 a month for 20 years the nest egg would swell to more than $240,000 at the child’s retirement.

KidSave accounts enjoyed bipartisan support years ago but stalled amid efforts to boost other types of savings accounts and shore up Social Security. As previously envisioned, the initial deposit might be $2,000, indexed annually for inflation. That alone might produce $250,000 at age 65, Heritage Foundation found in its assessment of the program nearly two decades ago. Another version of the program called for $1,000 at birth and five annual payments of $500, which could generate a nest egg of nearly $140,000.

Why dust off KidSave accounts now? They are a relatively painless way to address a retirement income shortfall in the, yes, distant future. But as the youngest boomers and then Gen Xers retire with virtually no guaranteed income other than Social Security, the shortfall will only grow. Everything is on the table now as policymakers try to fix the retirement income issue via things like expanded Social Security, guaranteed retirement accounts, 401(k) annuities, better home reverse mortgages, and breaking down legal barriers to working longer.

Kerrey noted that without change every American now under age 40 will receive a 25% cut in Social Security benefits at retirement. We need interim steps. But we also need a long-term plan. The candidates have touched on ways to fix Social Security and cut ballooning student debt.

Frey Freyday – Apathy

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy. Charles de Montesquieu

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice. Arnold J. Toynbee

Voting is completely important. People in America think democracy is a given. I think of it as an ecosystem, and what gets in the way of it is politicians and apathy. Henry Rollins

We may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings. Helen Keller

I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy. It’s not giving a damn. Leo Buscaglia

Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will and focus to overcome apathy, doubt or fear. Dan Millman

WORD TO (NOT) LIVE BY:

Apathy – [ap-uh-thee] lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting. absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.

Walter O’Brien, the inspiration and real life “Scorpion” and genius with an IQ of 197 stated that the greatest thing he dislikes in this world is apathy.

All of us, myself included, suffer from apathy. We learn great things, we know how to do things, we read books, listen to others, and gain all of these wonderful ideas ….and then sometimes just sit there and do nothing.

So many people, again including me, can make our own lives better. We can make other people’s lives better.

We can love more, we can simply live more. We can enjoy the moment, treat our bodies better, …do all sorts of things.

Sometimes I wonder why more of us don’t get involved in local organizations, elections and communities.

(and by the way, this isn’t a personal shaming/guilt fest. We aren’t here to say “I should of and I could of”)

I think if we’re simply aware of apathy in general, and then if we can be aware of apathy when it appears in our personal and business lives, we can make great strides.

Apathy leads to the regret of not trying, not loving, not living. I think its fine to try and fail but to not try and regret is often sad. Often this is from apathy.

What is your antidote for apathy?

I looked up the antonyms for apathy and I found fervor and ardor. Basically great warmth and earnestness of feeling, intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal, passion.

We all know someone that has enthusiasm, passion, or as my father used to say, “vim and vigor” in almost everything that they do.

Each of us has had this ‘zeal’ or passion in at least a few aspects of our lives.

What if we lived in that state most of the time? What if we attempted to approach each project or idea with enthusiasm, passion and, yes, fervor? There might be a little less apathy.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.
So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from..

 

BONUS-TED TALK

http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote_to_apathy

The Best Way to Create a Vision For the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision For the Life You Want

LIFESTYLEBY  http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/create-a-vision-for-the-life-you-want.html 

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

Why you need a vision

Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

How to create your life vision

Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

What do you want?

The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

Some tips to guide you:

  • Remember to ask why you want certain things
  • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
  • Give yourself permission to dream.
  • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
  • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

Some questions to start your exploration:

  • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what doesmatter.
  • What would you like to have more of in your life?
  • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
  • What are your secret passions and dreams?
  • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
  • What do you want your relationships to be like?
  • What qualities would you like to develop?
  • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
  • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
  • What would you most like to accomplish?
  • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

SEE ALSO: How to Create Your Life Story Exactly How You Want it to Be

What would your best life look like?

Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

A few prompts to get you started:

  • What will you have accomplished already?
  • How will you feel about yourself?
  • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
  • What does your ideal day look like?
  • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
  • What would you be doing?
  • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
  • How are you dressed?
  • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
  • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
  • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

Plan backwards

It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

  • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
  • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
  • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
  • What important actions would you have had to take?
  • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
  • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
  • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
  • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
  • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

Frey Freyday – Money

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.- Ayn Rand

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. –Henry David Thoreau

WORD TO LIVE BY:

 mon·ey – [ˈmənē] – a medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market,including among its forms a commodity such as gold, an officially issued coin or note, or a deposit in a checkingaccount or other readily liquefiable account.

No matter what our career or place in life is, no matter what our life’s mission or purpose is, we need to master money at least on some level. Put simply, we must spend less than we earn, save at least a little for the future and plan for the future. We all know this, right?

Money can do great things in communities, charities, and in lives. It can also be the number one reason why marriages break up. I believe it is simply how we think about and talk about money – and yes, it needs to be discussed more often.

Before anyone does a financial plan, a budget, or whatever, I suggest that it may help to first understand some things and ask some questions….Why is it hard for many of us to save for the future (or invest)? Why does money make us behave in all sorts of weird ways?

From a Ted Talk by LAURIE SANTOS  “…..we’re the smartest thing out there. Why can’t we figure this out? In some sense, where do our mistakes really come from? And having thought about this a little bit, I have seen a couple different possibilities. One possibility is, in some sense, it’s not really our fault. Because we’re a smart species, we can actually create all kinds of environments that are super, super accommodated, sometimes too complicated for us to even actually understand, even though we’ve actually created them.”

So, Ms. Santos, and other scientists, has performed experiments on people and on monkeys. As we all know, sometimes people make bad, irrational decisions about money. Illogical, fearful, selfish, wasteful, impulsive, among other things. Guess what? Monkeys act in a very similar manner. Scientists gave monkeys coins and had them ‘pay’ for grapes. They gave them different scenarios, and like humans, they behaved irrationally in similar circumstances.

The one thing you can learn from scientists’s work, is that whatever strategies we’re using for money, especially those strategies that we share with monkeys, those kinds of strategies can’t be built in for money per se. They’re not for markets or for credit cards. They’re just strategies that we had sitting around in our primate brain that we’re adapting to money. And that might mean that they lead us astray.

Whether you’re looking at the dessert cart and you’re trying to avoid the temptation, or you see something that you want to buy NOW and you also want to save up for something in the FUTURE, you’re going to probably buy it NOW. If you’re seeing your stocks go down or you see losses on an investment or any financial transaction that generates fear or loss, you’re not going to be able to see that in anything but old evolutionary terms.

So what do we do? How do we overcome? Again, like Ms. Santos, the Ted speaker mentioned, “humans are not only smart, we’re really inspirationally smart to the rest of the animals in the biological kingdom. We’re so good at overcoming our biological limitations.”

In other words, we can’t fly to anywhere – but we invented machines that can fly us. Many of us have poor eyesight, yet we invented glasses, contacts and surgery to change our eyesight so that we can see. We, as a species, have invented technologies, machines and strategies to overcome our biology.

The irony is that it might only be in recognizing our limitations that we can really actually overcome them. The hope is that we all will think about our limitations, not necessarily as un-overcome-able, but to recognize them, accept them, and then use the world of design to actually figure them out.

Likewise, we can do so with money. A simple step is to make it automatic. Set up auto withdrawals so that you really don’t ‘see’ the money, it just automatically goes into savings. We can set up a financial plan with emotions in mind so that we can ‘protect our plan’ better. Use technologies, strategies, and rational methods to help you save, spend, and invest.

A few other quick thoughts:

  1. Languages that don’t have a future tense, such as Chinese, the Scandinavians and the Japanese, strongly correlate with higher savings.- this refers to the future using verb helpers like “will” and “shall,” while others don’t have specific verbs to refer to future actions.
  2. Can money buy happiness? In many ways, yes – money can buy happiness — especially when you don’t spend it on yourself. The key is social spending that benefits not just you, but other people.

We have to make it automatic and take out the impulses and emotions. We have to educate ourselves more, we have to change our vocabulary, perspective and long term thinking if we want to save for the future.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.
So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from..

 

BONUS

Ted Talk #1- Are We Wired To Be Bad With Money?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/295349615/are-we-wired-to-be-bad-with-money

Ted Talk #2 – Could Your Language Affect Your Ability To Save Money?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/295356139/could-your-language-affect-your-ability-to-save-money

Ted Talk #3 – Can Money Buy You Happiness?

http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/297888687/can-money-buy-you-happiness

Here’s a technique the most productive people use to stay focused

Elite athletes use visualization techniques to prepare for games, and the evidence shows they improve their focus and help them perform better.

 It turns out we could all benefit from doing something similar, even if we’re only gearing up for a day at the office, not game seven of the World Series. If we run through events—be they important meetings and job interviews or even mundane tasks—in our head before we take them on, we’re better prepared and more able to react to the unexpected, according to Charles Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, in his new book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.
 “Your brain has to decide what deserves attention and what deserves to be ignored, and way it does it is compare what we expect is going to happen to what’s actually going on,” Duhigg told Quartz.
 When our brain knows what to expect, it can screen out the background noise, and pick up what’s important, Duhigg said. So if you’re only half paying attention in a meeting and your boss asks a question, you’ll be more able to produce the right answer, because your brain has already screened out all the clutter in the room that won’t help you.
 Creating mental models “primes our brain to be able to pay attention to the right things,” Duhigg said. Over time, it becomes second nature, and many people are doing it without realizing it.
 While almost all of us could stand to be more focused and prepared, it’s imperative for certain professionals. Like airline pilots.

In his book, Duhigg offers the example of two airplane crews. On one, Air France Flight 447 from Rio De Janeiro to Paris in 2009, the pilots were unprepared when their gauges started to malfunction. Focusing on the wrong things, they made a series of errors, including climbing when they should have descended. When they realized their mistake, it was too late and the plane stalled. The flight went down in the Atlantic with 228 people aboard.

 Another flight, Qantas Flight 32 from Singapore to Sydney a few years later, had a far more serious problem when an explosion disabled an engine and blew a hole in a wing. But before they took off, the crew had been drilled on how to respond to emergencies (in part because the chief pilot was being reviewed on the flight) and when the situation became too intense, the lead pilot was able to create a new mental model—What if I was flying a Cessna instead of jet?—that allowed him to simplify what he needed to do and focus on landing the plane safely.

On Qantas 32, the crew had a mental model that let them cut through the chaos that overwhelmed the Air France pilots.

 “If you want to do a better job of paying attention to what really matters, ” Duhigg wrote, “narrate your life as it’s occurring.”

http://qz.com/631869/heres-a-technique-the-most-productive-people-use-to-stay-focused/ 

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